Songstress and storyteller Lynne Jordan shares some love-themed favorites at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake Saturday, Feb. 12. // Courtesy of Raue Center for the Arts

Love stories: Diva-in-residence Lynne Jordan brings songs, tales to the Raue Center

Chicago diva Lynne Jordan’s jazzy blues vocals will pair well with her powerful storytelling during her performance Saturday at the Raue Center in Crystal Lake.

Lynne Jordan is a natural storyteller.

So when she gets behind a mic, as she will Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake, she is destined to entertain.

Literally.

An Ohio native with a boisterous laugh, Jordan moved to the Chicago area in 1979 to study journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston because she had convinced herself writing was the best way to share the stories brewing inside her.

“But then I switched to theater because that was my thing, the thing that I always denied,” Jordan said. “Performing was so natural for me that I, not that I didn’t think it had value, but I didn’t think I was anything special. … But when I switched to theater, all the inhibitions fell and all the freedom and the confidence in my instincts on stage all came from being in theater.”

Jordan said when she was growing up, she could often be found singing and playing piano alone at the church where her mom was a secretary, taking advantage of the solitude to nurture a side she wasn’t sure she should share with the world.

“It was a big Baptist church, and I’d be all alone in the pulpit, twirling down the aisle. It was a great childhood training ground,” she joked. “But I kind of kept all that inside. I wasn’t running around singing in the hallways of my school like some kids were. I kept it like it was my little secret.”

Jordan said her passion for performing remained mostly under wraps — her mom later revealed to her that she secretly enjoyed watching her at the church when the young Jordan thought she was alone — until some college friends pulled her on stage to sing with a band. An organizer for an all-campus party at Northwestern saw her and offered her a slot to play. As more people came to recognize her for her sound, doors continued to open until she was playing the Chicago blues circuit after college.

Performing was her destiny.

Jordan, now a diva-in-residence at the Crystal Lake performance center, will take the stage Saturday with her longtime band The Shivers for the third of five performances as part of the venue’s program. At her concerts, she creates a world where music and stories coexist, peppering tales of her time touring the world with her band and her life in Chicago’s blues clubs between her own blend of blues, jazz, show tunes and pop standards.

“My band is amazing. And I’m very unique as a performer. And when I was younger, I was really hopping,” she said with a laugh. “I could sing any genre with the same expertise, you know? I guess that’s pretty unusual. I just sang what I always wanted to. But artists like Buddy Guy encouraged me to always keep my diversity in my music. People like Lonnie Brooks and Buddy Guy, they’re like, ‘Girl, you sing whatever you want!'”

Jordan is building this weekend’s set around Valentine’s Day, but she said she also plans to touch on Black History Month.

Whether hysterical or heartbreaking, the stories and songs she has planned draw from her abundance of jovial charm and powerful theatricality.

“I love storytelling. But I kind of think of singing as that, too, which is why I sing so many genres,” she observed. “If the song has a story that I can pretend or I can relate to, then I’ll sing the song no matter what it is … blues, jazz, R&B, show tunes, you know? For me it’s all about the story.”

• • •

Lynne Jordan

When: 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30) Saturday, Feb. 12

Where: Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, (815) 356-9212, rauecenter.org

Tickets: $27-$33 ($18.90-$23.10 for RaueNOW members); $25 for the Sweet Surprise Valentine add-on, which includes a mini bottle of sparkling wine, two champagne flutes and two cake pops


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